Now that you’ve absorbed the fact that Glee managed to get nineteen noms and recovered from the shocking dis of Jay Leno, it’s time to dive a bit deeper into the Emmy nominations. We’ve already recapped the pros and cons of the major categories, but what about the fringe awards, the ones that nobody is handicapping? Aren’t you curious to know which nomination is most likely to piss off Sarah Palin? Or how James Cameron might make up for his Oscar loss with an Emmy win? And which broadcast network Emmy voters refuse to acknowledge even exists? And the theme songs, what about the theme songs? Let’s start digging!
ORIGINAL THEME MUSIC: While we’re sad Parks and Recreation didn’t get a nod for Best Comedy Series, at least Amy Poehler was recognized in the acting category — and, more important, the show’s awesome theme (this version, not the Jabba the Hutt remix) will compete in the main title song competition. Let’s just declare P&R the front-runner in the category, though there’s some solid competition, particularly the funky wah-wah guitars in the middle of the Nurse Jackie theme and the white-trash blues-rap of Justified. The Human Target theme is okay (though the Rick Springfield version was better); Warehouse 13, meanwhile, is no X-Files.
ORIGINAL MUSIC AND LYRICS: Emmy’s music and lyrics category is gaining a reputation as Emmy’s quiet nod to First Amendment rights. Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg’s “Dick in a Box” won in 2007; last year, the duo were nominated for “Motherlover.” This year, Sarah Palin will no doubt be thrilled to know Family Guy’s “Down Syndrome Girl Song” (which is much tamer than its title suggests) has been honored with a nom. Its chief competition is the NPH-tastic “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit” from How I Met Your Mother and Samberg’s collaboration with Rihanna, “Shy Ronnie” (“Oh no, he pissed himself!”). We’re totally pulling for the “Suit” song, which manages to mix cheeky humor (“In navy blue or black/Check out this perfect rack/I want to give them a squeeze”) with old-fashioned musical charm. Plus, it’s about time the Solids got some kudos.
HAIRSTYLING FOR A SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES: This makes sense: Among Glee’s many nominations are two for best hairstyling. And yes, the “Hairography” episode was nominated (along with “The Power of Madonna”). The Mad Men episode “Souvenir” may squeak out a win for achievement in the pomade arts, but poor Castle, which also landed a nom here, probably doesn’t stand a chance.
NONFICTION SPECIAL: Left-leaning Emmy voters face a tough decision: HBO’s moving Edward Kennedy doc (Teddy: In His Own Words) is up against Edward Norton’s By the People: The Election of Barack Obama. Conservatives have it easier: They can just give Clint Eastwood the award for Johnny Mercer: The Dream’s on Me, a Turner Classic Movies special he produced. (Lumped in with all this serious stuff: The Simpsons’ twentieth-anniversary special, directed by Morgan Spurlock, and the retrospective Saturday Night Live in the 2000s).
WRITING IN A NONFICTION SPECIAL: Even after Bruce Vilanch dies, his ghost will continue to write jokes for the Oscars (and yes, his ghost will still wear giant novelty T-shirts). And the late Vilanch will likely continue to get Emmy noms, too; he and this year’s team (which includes Seinfeld alum Carol Leifer and columnist Dave Barry) are up again. Chief competition includes Bill Maher and Wanda Sykes for their respective HBO specials. Whether their specials will continue after their deaths is unclear.
VOICE-OVER PERFORMANCE: FX’s underrated Archer didn’t break thorough in the animation categories, but we were happy to see that Dr. Katz alum H. Jon Benjamin — who supplies the voice of the title character and also plays Carl on Family Guy — got a nod. Good luck to him going up against Hank Azaria, Dan Castellaneta, and Anne Hathaway, all nominated for The Simpsons.
SPECIAL CLASS: James Cameron didn’t win the Oscar, but maybe Avatar can get an Emmy: An HBO First Look infomercial, er, special devoted to the blockbuster is up in this category, which we can’t define, either. Its oddball competition includes webisodes tied to Lost and 30 Rock, the Oscar and Tony Awards … and the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics.
REALITY PROGRAM: The reality-competition category remains a snoozefest (oh, wow, Amazing Race got nominated … again! ), but the less sexy, plain-old reality-show race got a bit of new blood with nominees Undercover Boss and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. The latter could use the love: ABC has yet to pick up a second season. Both shows will square off against PBS’s Antiques Roadshow and cable giants Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Mythbusters, and Dirty Jobs.
AND OTHER NOTABLE NOMINATIONS (AND LACK THEREOF): You’ve got to feel for the CW: The network of Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries once again failed to garner a single nomination. Not even for Best Makeup or Hair … or something. To rub even more salt into the CW’s wounds, the TV Academy did find a way to nominate something from EPIX HD, the teeny-tiny premium cable network that launched late last year and is available to around five people. It snagged a nomination for an Eddie Izzard special.
It’s hard to believe that the recent all-star version of Survivor didn’t rate an Emmy nomination. But Mark Burnett can take a bit of solace knowing his show did get nominated for cinematography (converting to HD paid off!) — and that Big Brother wasn’t nominated, either.
Finally, today has to be pretty sweet for Mike O’Malley. Ten years ago, he was the poster child for bad TV, with critics assailing his short-lived (two episodes!) self-titled NBC comedy as one of the worst things ever (“as hackneyed and uninspired as sitcoms get,” Variety bitched). Then came Yes, Dear, a sitcom used for five years by entertainment writers looking for a reference for what was wrong with television comedy. Well, like all the other underdogs on Glee, O’Malley has found redemption: He was nominated for guest actor today for his work as Kurt’s dad. Don’t stop believin’, Jay Mohr, that could be you someday!